CommunityMCB Updates

COVID-19 Muslim Burial Resources

British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) Q&A on the performance of ghusl for deceased persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

Download PDF: BIMA Ghusl guidelines Q&A

Updated National Burial Council (NBC) x BIMA pathway to follow when preparing bodies of deceased persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

Download PDF: Ghusl Pathway March 30

Most recent National Burial Council (NBC) guidelines detailing procedure for handling of bodies of deceased persons with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

Download PDF: NBC Body Handling Procedure April 7

Additional Resources/FAQs

The National Burial Council has been working with Public Health England to best plan for facilitating the burial of Muslims who pass away from COVID-19. To see the latest guidance from the National Burial Council, visit nbc.org.uk. For the latest guidance from the National Association of Funeral Directors (UK), visit their advice page.

Some theological rulings explained below are guidelines and have been developed alongside a range of Islamic scholars. The MCB encourages individuals to consult their local Imam or Scholar in the first instance for specific advice.

1. What is the UK Government position on enforced cremation?

On 23 March, the UK Government has confirmed that the emergency legislation to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic will now recognise the importance of ensuring faith communities are able to bury the deceased instead of cremating in the event of significant deaths due to Coronavirus. The legislation has now made clear that enforced cremation against the wishes of the individual, will not take place when there are burial facilities available.

2. Can we do ghusl if the deceased had Coronavirus?

Yes, ghusl is possible if the deceased had Coronavirus, though no one over the age of 60 should take part in the ghusl process, and all who are involved are advised to wear PPE. It would be helpful to designate one or two mosques and/or washing facilities as central locations for ghusl to be carried out, and volunteers to be organised to carry out ghusl and salaat-ul-janazah. After ghusl has been performed, all areas should be disinfected and disposables treated as medical waste. Try not to store bodies in the mosque, and ensure burial can be done on the same day.

3. In what scenario is it allowed to do tayammum instead of ghusl?

Given the potential for some difference of opinion on some specific details between schools of thought, we strongly advise you refer to your local scholar or Imam in the first instance.

Tayammum (dry purification, i.e. without the use of water) can be performed instead of ghusl if ghusl is not possible. However, we are currently waiting for guidance on the specific requirements of performing ghusl.

It is of the utmost importance to ensure the body can reach the cemetery as quickly as possible, which may require tayammum instead.

4. In what scenario would it be allowed to have neither tayammum nor ghusl on the dead body?

Given the potential for some difference of opinion on some specific details between schools of thought, we strongly advise you refer to your local scholar or Imam in the first instance.

If neither tayammum nor ghusl is possible, you can pass a wet hand over the entire body bag which would suffice.

5. In what scenario would cremation be allowed? What about if there were no graves available, and bodies were piling up and becoming a health hazard?

In all schools of thought in Islam, cremation is not an option. On 23 March, the UK Government has committed to respecting the religious wishes of individuals who pass away of Coronavirus in terms of burial rites.

6. What if I can’t afford burial services?

i) UK Government support is available through the Funeral Expenses Payment scheme.

ii) National Zakat Foundation (NZF) can also provide support – contact NZF here.

8. Where can I go for support?

Contact Muslim Youth Helpline (any age) for mental health signposting support. (www.myh.org.uk | 0808 808 2008) and visit this Mental Health web page for further details.

For further queries in the meantime, please email [email protected] or visit www.mcb.org.uk/resources/coronavirus/

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